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Does vigorous exercise have any benefits?

Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali, CPT,NASM Elite Trainer
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Vigorous exercise has benefits.  However, it is important to define what is vigorous exercise. What I perceive to be vigorous exercise may be easy to a highy-trained athlete.

It is important to distinguish intensity between the older adult and their younger counterpart.  In order to distinguish this something called a a metabolic equivalent or a MET is used.  For healthy adults 3-6 METS is considered moderate intensity and 6 and greater is considered vigorous intensity. 

So that you have an idea of what a MET is, following are MET value for various activities:

Fishing and hunting  = 2.5 METS
Home activities = sweeping garage, sidewalk or outside of house = 4 METS
Ballroom Dancing = 5.5 METS
Planting Trees = 4.5 METS
Home Repair/roofing = 6 METS
Bailing Hay/Farming = 8 METS
Running a 12 minute mile = 8 METS
Jumping Rope moderate = 10 METS

With older adults it is important to take into consideration their level of fitness and determine vigorous activity by using  a 10-point scale that is referred to a "rate of perceived exertion scale."  On this scale vigorous activity is considered to be a 7 or an 8.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following as far as vigorous activity is concerned:

Frequency:  A minimum of 5 days a week for moderate intensity activities or 3 days a week for vigorous-intensity activities or some combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity activity 3-5 days a week.

So if you are a health adulty with no contraindications to exercise, it is a good thing to find your own personal 7 or 8 on that scale of one to ten and challenge yourself with a bit of vigorous exercise.  It will do your heart and body good and keep you youthful and strong!

Engaging in vigorous activity in the correct dosage and intensity promotes and maintains health and helps prevent conditions associated with inactivity.

Certainly! Vigorous exercise burns more calories, which is excellent for accelerating weight loss. It’s important that you take adequate time to rest and recover from your exercise sessions. This avoids burnout and injury from lack of recovery. Take a day off in between bouts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.